Orion Expedition Cruises
Line: Orion Expedition Cruises
Vessels: MV Orion
Star Rating: 4½ star
What's included in the price:
- All meals
- Educational programs
- Port taxes
- 24-hour room service
- Use of ship's sporting equipment and facilities
Orion Cruises are an Australian line and offer expedition cruises around the continent’s coastline, to Papua New Guinea and the Great Barrier Reef. The line has managed to bring together the concept of visiting spectacular remote places with the comfort of a modern cruise ship. The ship is extremely well fitted out with plenty of rich wood, deep carpets and brass fittings. It is a medium sized ship so is able to enter the spectacular gorges of Australia’s north west coast where a larger ship could not possibly go. It can also get close to islands and to the reef.
The line prides itself on the service that it gives to its passengers. All done with the open friendliness that Australians are well known for. The ship has a high ratio of crew to passengers and this helps to make passengers feel that they are getting a very personal level of care.
Whilst the ship is very comfortable, it should not be forgotten that these cruises are also adventures. The cruises are attractive to all age groups but there is a lot of climbing into and out of zodiac inflatables, so passengers should be active. Not only that, the destination ashore is most often a beach that means a wet landing, so not suitable for those who don’t like to get their feet wet. Trips ashore may also be taxing over rough terrain and not suitable for the less agile. Passenger lists are usually made up mostly of Australians and New Zealanders although there is always a smattering of Americans and Europeans. The age range is mostly that of the “Baby boomers” who are either close to or have retired. Passengers should take the longer trips as these give a more in-depth and rewarding experience.
Dinner is served in one sitting in the large and airy restaurant and is always of four courses. The menus were designed by a Sydney-side master chef and tend to be Australian in nature, focussing on meat and seafood dishes. The seafood dishes are all Australian sourced and are of the very best quality. Of course, vegetarian and healthy eating options are always available. Being Australian, the ship could not survive without holding barbeques and these are usually held at lunch times. Breakfast and lunch are served buffet style and are often eaten outside, so taking full advantage of the weather and scenery. If it should be wet, these meals are eaten in the main restaurant. There is a cabin service for continental breakfasts. Lunch dishes and dinner main courses may also be served in the cabin.
Every cabin on the ship has an ocean view and is fitted out to a very high standard. Bathrooms are fitted out in black and white marble and some have small bathtubs. All of the usual equipment is fitted into cabins and six of the staterooms have French balconies. Potential passengers should get a full plan of the accommodation when booking as very few cabins are laid out in the same way. The flat screen TVs are linked to the ships information system so passengers may learn a lot about the localities to be visited. This enables them to take full advantage of the sites when they are actually there. There are also talks or mini-lectures given before excursions ashore take place.
Despite the fact that there are no glitzy shows on the ship, there is plenty to do. A highlight of the day is pre-dinner drinks when passengers exchange their experiences of the day over drinks and canapés. There is live evening entertainment in the form of singers and some music. The ship tends to move overnight so that during the day passengers enjoy excursions ashore or diving, fishing or other water sports. Scuba gear can be hired as can helicopter sightseeing trips over the land.
Orion Cruises are successful as they have managed to provide the exploration of remote places with the comfort of a cruise liner.